New £3m eyecare unit will offer patients quicker treatment

eyecare qeh

Inside the new eyecare unit at the QEH - Credit: QEH

A brand new £3m eye care centre has opened at a Norfolk hospital.

As well as providing a dedicated area to treat patients with eye conditions, the West Norfolk Eye Centre, at King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, will also free up outpatient space for other specialties in the main building.

The increased capacity that will be created, and more efficient ways of working – such as developing ‘one stop’ clinics – will mean that more patients will be able to receive care and treatment more quickly.

The new bigger facility will also be able to respond to the increasing numbers of patients requiring ophthalmology services.

QEH provides around 34,000 outpatient eye appointments and undertakes 7,000 eye procedures each year for conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, retina conditions, children’s eye conditions and eye emergencies.

The new centre will enable staff to offer an additional 2,000 appointments and undertake 2,000 more intravitreal (IVT) injection procedures each year (eye injections to treat a variety of retinal conditions).

The West Norfolk Eye Centre also has twice the space of the old outpatient area, with separate rooms for outpatient appointments and diagnostic tests, rather than having do both in the same room.

Ophthalmic surgeon and clinical lead Stephen Byard

Ophthalmic surgeon and clinical lead Stephen Byard at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital - Credit: QEH

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There are separate waiting rooms and treatment areas for children and adults and two rooms for laser treatments – rather than one – enabling staff to see and treat more patients.

Ophthalmic surgeon and clinical lead Stephen Byard said: “The new name reflects the improvements in the centre itself and, importantly, greater working in partnership with our community.

“The West Norfolk Eye Centre will improve the care provided across the area for those with eye conditions and means those who need to attend hospital are cared for in a brand new, purpose-built facility, designed specifically around their needs.”

The new centre opens as the QEH waits to find out whether it will be one of eight hospital new-builds announced by the government after missing out in a previous finding round.

More than 1,500 props are needed to support the roof of the QEH, which was originally intended to have a 30-year working life when it was built in the late 1970s.